Learn more about affidavits
A general affidavit is used to provide a written record of a sworn statement. The affidavit must be notarized before the statement will hold legal weight, and all information must be factual. Including misinformation can be considered a form of perjury (providing inaccurate information under oath).
An affidavit is sometimes referred to as a:
- Sworn affidavit
- Sworn statement
- Notarized statement
- Statement under oath
- General affidavit
In some cases, an affidavit also has a more specific name. For instance, a financial affidavit deals specifically with financial matters, such as verifying income or possessing certain assets.
Who should use this form?
You can use this template if you need to offer sworn testimony on a matter. For example, if you are entering into a contract with another person or business, that party might ask for a general affidavit to move forward.
What to include in an affidavit
The contents of an affidavit can vary depending on its purpose. For instance, if you're using a general affidavit form to offer information about a legal case, such as a civil lawsuit, you might create several pages of testimony. Alternatively, if you're stating a simple fact, the document might include a line or two of your sworn statement.
Regardless of its purpose, an affidavit should always include the following:
- Your full name
- Your date of birth
- Your address
- A certification that the information youÕve written is true
- If the affidavit relates to a specific legal case, the case number and any other identifying information.
The actual statement can be typed or handwritten. If you choose to handwrite the affidavit, use your best penmanship so that your words can't get misinterpreted.
Be sure to include as much detail as possible, especially if you are providing testimony for a legal matter. Names, dates, times, and other details can make your statement more credible and easier to understand.
If you're creating a sworn statement on several different facts, you might need to number each new section. You'll find it easier to keep the facts straight and write in a more organized fashion. Alternatively, you can write chronologically so that the document relates the events you describe in order.
Finally, most states wonÕt let you relate secondhand information in an affidavit. For instance, you can't write what someone else told you. You also can't include any facts that you won't be able to prove as factual later.
What you do with an affidavit depends on its purpose. Regardless, you must sign the document in front of a notary public. You can find notaries at your local bank or post office, or you can search for one in your community. The notary public will ask for photo identification as well as any documents necessary to prove the accuracy of the statements in your document.
After youÕve the signed the document, the notary public will also sign and date it. You can then file the affidavit with the proper court, give the document to your attorney, or use it for other purposes.